No thought was given to what it really was,

poisonous or not, Allison just called it sourgrass,


plucked the leggy plant with its reddish top,

sucked it like a straw. The opposite of honeysuckle--


bitter, like olive brine. My mouth watered.

I liked it. That summer we ransacked it from pasture,


backyard, roadside ditch, far from discriminate.  

It flourished in that Piedmont town, where granite 


headstones and mausoleums were always on display. 

Here in the mountains I rarely see it, so I look it up, 


red dock, sour dock, common sheep sorrel just three

of its names.  Edible, with a love of acidic soil, 


host to the American Copper, to young girls

who saunter outdoors, brave enough to eat weeds.


Rosemary Royston, author of Splitting the Soil (Finishing Line Press), resides with her family in the foothills of Southern Appalachia. Her poetry, strongly influenced by place, has been published in journals such as Appalachian Heritage, Southern Poetry Review, STILL, KUDZU, Town Creek Review, and *82 Review.